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English Dictionary: rank and file by the DICT Development Group
3 results for rank and file
From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) [wn]:
rank and file
n
  1. the ordinary members of an organization (such as the enlisted soldiers of an army); "the strike was supported by the union rank and file"; "he rose from the ranks to become a colonel"
    Synonym(s): rank and file, rank
  2. people who constitute the main body of any group
From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) [web1913]:
   Rank \Rank\, n. [OE. renk, reng, OF. renc, F. rang, fr. OHG.
      hring a circle, a circular row, G. ring. See {Ring}, and cf.
      {Range}, n. & v.]
      1. A row or line; a range; an order; a tier; as, a rank of
            osiers.
  
                     Many a mountain nigh Rising in lofty ranks, and
                     loftier still.                                    --Byron.
  
      2. (Mil.) A line of soldiers ranged side by side; -- opposed
            to file. See 1st {File}, 1
            (a) .
  
                           Fierce, fiery warriors fought upon the clouds,
                           In ranks and squadrons and right form of war.
                                                                              --Shak.
  
      3. Grade of official standing, as in the army, navy, or
            nobility; as, the rank of general; the rank of admiral.
  
      4. An aggregate of individuals classed together; a permanent
            social class; an order; a division; as, ranks and orders
            of men; the highest and the lowest ranks of men, or of
            other intelligent beings.
  
      5. Degree of dignity, eminence, or excellence; position in
            civil or social life; station; degree; grade; as, a writer
            of the first rank; a lawyer of high rank.
  
                     These all are virtues of a meaner rank. --Addison.
  
      6. Elevated grade or standing; high degree; high social
            position; distinction; eminence; as, a man of rank.
  
      {Rank and file}.
            (a) (Mil.) The whole body of common soldiers, including
                  also corporals. In a more extended sense, it includes
                  sergeants also, excepting the noncommissioned staff.

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) [web1913]:
  
  
      2. Course of thought; thread of narration. [Obs.]
  
                     Let me resume the file of my narration. --Sir H.
                                                                              Wotton.
  
      {File firing}, the act of firing by file, or each file
            independently of others.
  
      {File leader}, the soldier at the front of any file, who
            covers and leads those in rear of him.
  
      {File marching}, the marching of a line two deep, when faced
            to the right or left, so that the front and rear rank
            march side by side. --Brande & C.
  
      {Indian file}, [or] {Single file}, a line of men marching one
            behind another; a single row.
  
      {On file}, preserved in an orderly collection.
  
      {Rank and file}.
            (a) The body of soldiers constituing the mass of an army,
                  including corporals and privates. --Wilhelm.
            (b) Those who constitute the bulk or working members of a
                  party, society, etc., in distinction from the leaders.
No guarantee of accuracy or completeness!
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